Tim Keller | April 15, 2007
This sermon looks at the first two chapters of the book of Esther, which shows us how to follow God in morally, spiritually, and culturally ambiguous situations. We will see that 1) God is always at work in spite of appearances; 2) The world is obsessed with appearances; and 3) God’s work can free us from enslavement to the world’s ways.
The story of Esther from the Old Testament teaches us how people who believe in God can engage with cultures that don’t share the same values. It also highlights how a woman can promote fairness and justice in a male-dominated society. Plus, it gives us wisdom on figuring out what God wants us to do when things are confusing or uncertain, reminding us that God is always working, even when it doesn’t seem like it, and His work can free us from being too focused on worldly things.
1. God is always at work in spite of appearances
Esther’s story, where she becomes a queen, shows us that small events can influence our lives in big ways. The story doesn’t directly mention God, but it suggests that He is always there in our everyday lives, working in ways we might not notice. It’s important to remember that God’s work isn’t always obvious, and we should be open to seeing His influence in our daily lives.
2. The world is obsessed with appearances
Society often values wealth and beauty over character, a problem we see in the book of Esther, and this is still true today. Living in cities where many cultures mix together, it’s important to value people for who they are, not just how they look or what they own. Despite society’s focus on appearances, God’s love for imperfect people reminds us to see people’s real character. This idea can cause disagreements between different groups like feminists and traditionalists.
3. God’s work can free us from enslavement to the world’s ways
God wants to have a close relationship with us, not just be a distant ruler. The stories of Esther and Ephesians show that God’s love is patient and can change us, making us beautiful even with our flaws. When we understand God’s love, it changes how we see beauty, helps us grow through hard times, and promises a future where we will be truly beautiful at the final joyful celebration with Jesus. This leads us to live lives of happiness and purpose.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
February Book Offer